During this past holiday season, I hosted a Holiday Brunch for three of my closest girlfriends.
I wanted to keep it simple and make something ahead of time, something that would stay warm in the oven until my guests arrived so I didn’t have to “actually cook” when they came.
My inspiration for this recipe comes to you from the ever so gorgeous Giada De Laurentis, however I made a few adjustments to tone down the fat… I used 1 less egg, I used half and half instead of heavy whipping cream, I used 2% Reduced-Fat Milk instead of Whole Milk, I used less sugar, and I skipped the Mascarpone Cheese altogether.
NUTRITION: Eggs are a very good source of Vitamin B2, and are a good source Protein and Vitamin D, although the yolks do contain a lot of cholesterol, the yolk also contains tons of nutrients that are good for you. Milk is an excellent source of Protein and Calcium. Maple Syrup is a much healthier alternative to sugar since a little bit goes a long way.
* for a healthier alternative, substitute 2% Reduced-Fat Milk for half and half, use 100% whole wheat bread instead of Pandoro Bread, but then it won't be as yummy.
INGREDIENTS (makes 8 pieces of French Toast):
recipe originally from Giada De Laurentis heavily modified below.
for the batter:
- Organic Eggs – 5
- Organic Half and Half – ¾ cup
- Organic Milk 2% Reduced-Fat – ¾ cup
- Turbinado Brown Sugar in the Raw – 3 tbsp
- Pure Vanilla – 1 tsp
- Orange Zest – 1 tsp
- Ground Cinnamon – ¼ tsp
- Pandoro Bread – 1 lb. 8.7 oz. (slice 8 slices horizontally about ¾ inch thick, you will have leftover bread)
- Unsalted Butter – 1 teaspoon per 2 slices (glaze about 1 teaspoon of butter and cook 2 slices of French Toast)
- Powdered Sugar – just a dusting
- 100% Pure Maple Syrup – just a drizzle
1. Start by cracking 5 eggs into a rectangular baking tray so you can easily dip the bread.
2. Add half and half, milk, brown sugar in the raw, vanilla, orange zest, and ground cinnamon.
3. Whisk well.
4. Next, get your Pandoro bread, again, Panetonne would work beautifully too. Both breads can be found at any major grocery store during and after the holidays.
5. Slice the bread horizontally into ¾ inch slices. Certain slices will be large, so you can slice those in half. You want 8 pieces of bread total.
6. Heat up a cast-iron skillet on low-medium heat (dial #4), once hot, add a teaspoon of butter.
7. Dip 2 slices of bread into the batter, about 3 seconds on each side.
8. Add both slices of bread to the skillet.
9. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
10. Once done, serve immediately, or set aside on a baking tray.
11. I cooked my French Toast ahead of time and then placed them in a 250 degree oven so they stayed warm until my guests arrived. Works really well.
12. Once you are ready to serve, sprinkle powdered sugar and drizzle a little maple syrup. BEST FRENCH TOAST, EVER!
TELL ME: Do you ever host brunch? If so, what is your go to recipe that gives you a chance to hang out with your friends instead of cooking?